British Supreme Court Rules Uber Drivers Are
Workers, Not Self-Employed
BY TYLER DURDEN FRIDAY, FEB 19, 2021 - 6:06
In a landmark decision that marks the close of a years-long
legal battle, the British Supreme Court has just ruled
that Uber must classify its drivers as workers instead of the 'self-employed'
designation that currently applies to Uber drivers in the
US, Europe and elsewhere.
The ruling already looks set to jack up Uber's labor costs, as
Uber drivers in the UK are now officially entitled to minimum wage and holiday
pay. Uber's loss at the hands of Britain's Supreme Court is the last leg of a
lengthy legal battle: Uber appealed to the British Supreme Court after losing
three earlier rounds.
Two former drivers-turned-activists celebrated the ruling: James
Farrar and Yaseen Aslam - the two men who originally won an employment tribunal
decision against Uber back in October 2016, told the BBC they were
"thrilled and relieved" to hear the news.
think it's a massive achievement in a way that we were able to stand up against
a giant," Aslam (who is also president of the App Drivers &
Couriers Union) told the BBC.
"We didn't give up and we were consistent - no matter what
we went through emotionally or physically or financially, we stood our
Uber initially appealed against the employment tribunal decision
mentioned above, but the UK's Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the ruling in
After that, the ride hailing colossus took its case to the
British High Court, which upheld the ruling again in December 2018.
In a post-decision statement, Uber said it doesn’t automatically
reclassify all of its UK drivers, and noted that since the case was filed it
had added some driver benefits like insurance for sickness and injury.
committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver across
the U.K. to understand the changes they want to see,” said
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional chief for Northern and Eastern Europe.
Per the BBC,
the key point made in the court's ruling is this: Uber must consider its
drivers "workers" from the time they log on to the app, until they
Activists and some progressive economists celebrated the
decision, claiming that "this is a win-win-win for drivers, passengers and
cities. It means Uber now has the correct economic incentives not to oversupply
the market with too many vehicles and too many drivers," according to
James Farrar, ADCU's general secretary.
"The upshot of that oversupply has been poverty, pollution
To be sure, questions remain about how the new classification
system will work. But for better or worse, Uber is now
stuck with it, as there is no higher court in Britain than the Supremes (just
like in the US).
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